I read this in one sitting. It was great! I’m so glad that this is a series (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place) and not just one stand-alone. Especially since I don’t think one major mystery was ever “solved”!
So Miss Penelope Lumley is a governess who has three interesting children. They were found by Lord Ashton in the woods and were apparently raised by wolves. The children don’t really know how to be children. What they do know is that “Arrrooogh” and “Woof” are very understandable words when speaking to each other and that squirrels might possibly be the most interesting animals on the planet. Especially if one wants to chase said squirrels. Well Lady Ashton wants to throw her first Christmas party (it is the first year that Lady and Lord Ashton are married) and does not want the children to act like wild wolves and spoil it all. Lord Ashton spends more time in his club and boasting about the wild children “finders keepers what…” that it seems he rather likes the novelty of them acting like wolves. And Miss Lumley has the job of trying to teach them how to be proper English children.
This is a good book. It is well written and shows all sorts of reasons why it is good to be proper…but not too proper when children. Miss Lumley is also an amazing character. She uses her wit and knowledge and love for animals to turn a potentially disastrous situation into a challenge that she enjoys (especially as she comes to really love the children). There are also all sorts of interesting characters in the staff of Ashton Place and in the village that you get the impression that there is always more than what meets the eye. And who left three children to be raised in the woods? And who let the squirrel in? There are so many things left mysteriously dark that it proves that the story isn’t just a nice character piece about what it would be like to raise children who were raised by wolves. There are bits that Miss Lumley doesn’t understand yet…but I do believe that eventually she will.
Book Discussion Questions:
What was strange about Miss Lumley’s job interview?
Why did the children go out in the street after Miss Lumley asked them to stay put?
Why is it often hard for children to obey adults?
Compare the various reactions of the different people who meet the children. Who liked them? Who didn’t? Why? Would the hunting party really have hunted the children?
Should those that don’t know any better be given some leeway when attending social functions?
How would you teach children who were raised by wolves? What would you teach them first?